Enjoy this “Leccese” spin on traditional lasagna brought to you by our friends in Puglia. Puglia is one of our favorite destinations for our cooking vacations in Italy, and Lecce is one of its most important cities. Known as the “Florence of the south,” it has a plethora of Baroque buildings.
What makes this dish different than many lasagnas is that the meatballs are cooked into the pasta dish, alongside a variety of wonderful Italian ingredients. What could be better than meatballs in lasagna!
This dish makes a great family-style meal or pot luck dish.
Check out our Culinary Adventure in Puglia.
Pasta al Forno alla Leccese (Lecce-style Baked Lasagna)
Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Cook method: Bake
- 500g (~18 oz) lasagna noodles
- 1 liter (~34 oz) tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 onion
- 2 eggs
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 3 ounces of sliced mortadella
- 7 ounces of Scamorza cheese (similar to Mozzarella)
- extra virgin olive oil
- 300g of minced veal
- 2 tablespoons of parmesan
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 clove of crushed garlic
- 1 egg
- about 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs
1. First prepare a sauce by sautéing the onion in a pan, add the tomato sauce and tomato paste, cook slowly and add salt to taste.
2. While that is cooking, prepare the meat balls, no bigger than an hazelnut and fry them in olive oil. Drain and leave them on kitchen paper.
3. Boil the eggs, leave to cool in some cold water, peel and cut them into slices. Cut the scamorza cheese into cubes and chop up the mortadella.
4. Boil some salted water and add the pasta until it is cooked “al dente,” drain and lay on a clean cloth to dry. (You can also use “no-boil” lasagna noodles if you prefer.)
5. Cover the bottom of an oven proof dish with the tomato sauce, then layer in the pasta, followed by the meat balls, cheese, mortadella, boiled egg, more tomato sauce, fresh ground black pepper and a dusting of parmesan. Repeat these steps until you reach the top layer, which should be tomato sauce and cheese.
6. Bake at 180° for at least 20/25 minutes. Cover and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
Learn to make this and other amazing dishes from Puglia on a cooking vacation with TIK!
By Peg Kern
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